Can anyone spot what’s wrong with this Wall St Journal article?

Ramit Sethi

I love the Wall Street Journal, but as I was browsing it yesterday, I found this page. Who can identify what’s wrong with it?

Why might this be a sub-optimal way to talk about personal finance? What does the typical reader think when he sees this page?

Hint: It took me about 4 years to figure this out.

Quiz: What is your earning potential? Choose the answer you agree with the most
View Results

[Edit]: The comments on this post are fascinating. I’ve posted my response here.

Do you know your actual earning potential?

Get started with the Earning Potential quiz. Get a custom report based on your unique strengths, and discover how to start making extra money — in as little as an hour.

Start The Quiz

Takes 3 min


  1. Josh moore

    Hi Ramit,

    To me a few things stick out:
    – it seems overly complex and could cause analysis paralysis. Reader thinks ‘it’s all too much effort’
    – it’s written by columnists. What makes them any superior to me?
    – if it is a how to guide wouldn’t it include more than just tips?
    – it’s upside down. Investing should come after they sort out savings, planning, etc.
    – more often than not, people need a why to do something. The how-to doesn’t solve their personal circumstances, offering a one size fits all type solution to personal finance.


  2. Elle

    I agree with Josh’s thoughts. I think many more people will be motivated if they see why knowing about mutual funds and 529 plans could make them more wealthy.

    I think it should be organized by how pressing certain matters are for most people in their range. Banking should be ahead of investing. Your checking and savings accounts handle day to day finances.

  3. Matt

    It suggests that, within the realm of “personal finance,” investing is the highest priority while managing your money is a mere afterthought.

    • Paul

      Perhaps rather than suggest that money management is an afterthought, it assumes that it’s already been done. They’ve pushed the obvious down the page to the detriment of the clueless.

  4. Benjamin Manns

    The reporters and columnists are telling me ‘how-to’ do all this stuff, when I don’t know ‘why-to’ do it. Also, there is no actionable plan, or even rough estimate of a path that one is supposed to take through all of it.

    • Paul

      I’ve always thought that the “Why do X?” group were the ones who didn’t know apples from oranges, but the “Howto do X?” group had already sought out a specific task.

      I agree that there is/are no apparent actionable item(s) brought to the reader’s attention.

  5. Chris Horner

    There’s nothing here on budgeting or how to use your money day to day. All of the topics they mention are useless until you understand that piece.

  6. Chris Caton

    It’s all about what to do with the money you have, not how to get more in the first place.

  7. Pop

    It portrays investing as the most important aspect of building wealth, when making more money matters more than most of the stuff on the list combined.

  8. TopherD

    I agree with Benjamin Manns, there isn’t enough why’s in that list. It also seems to have a one size fits all feel to it.

  9. Dan J

    It also suggests that everything on this list is something you need to do, which isn’t necessarily true. You don’t /need/ to finance an car purchase (save up & pay cash), buy a house (rent) or use a financial planner (do it yourself). I also agree with the previous commentators.

  10. BH

    It’s all How. There is no When or more importantly Why.

  11. Nitty

    It says “how to pick a stock,” as if people should be picking stocks rather than just investing in an index fund.

    • Evan

      I was going to say the same thing.

  12. Chris

    There is no article on buying a car without financing or leasing.

  13. Dan

    They put the most basic (and important) stuff last, because it was the least flashy (and probably what people aren’t looking for). You need to be able to manage your basic finances and know about banking before you can really do flashy investments like buying stocks. And honestly, you shouldn’t be buying stocks unless you’re Warren Buffet. And even then, he buys companies.

    They do mention some funds, but I’m surprised that they don’t mention anything about savings.

  14. Nate

    Well….there’s definitely a few things.

    1. There is nothing on setting priorities or motivations. So many people invest in stocks, mutual funds, etc, etc b/c they think ‘that’s what I’m supposed to do. That’s what a responsible adult does.’ Before you start any personal finance program you should maybe ask yourself what you want out of it. Do you want to save for travel? Do you like to go out a lot and want to save money for that? Have you thought of future expenses you might have (kids, wedding, etc?)

    2. This is really a carry-over of #1 above. there is nothing on budgeting. The first step in any personal finance plan should be to evaluate your life. How much are you bringing in each month? What are your fixed expenses? What are your variable expenses. So..first figure out how much is coming in and how much is going out. If your cash flow is negative, obviously you have a few issues to figure out before you start thinking about stocks, bonds, 401(k)s, etc. And again, going to #1, if you do have money left over, then it’s figuring out what you want to do with that.

    3. Hmm…I guess these are all blending together now b/c now I’m tying #1 and #2 together. There’s nothing on cutting expenses. Tips on how to cut expenses or where you might start. Tips on managing any debt you have etc. Cutting expenses can be just as important as saving/investing.

    I could go on, but these are the big ones I got when I first glanced at this. Pages like this are a bit discouraging b/c they’re sold ‘old school’ and cookie cutter. Someone going to this page will automatically assume that ‘oh, good personal finance is investing in stocks (mutual funds, 401K, whatever), buying a home, getting a credit card, etc.’ It’s not that talking about those things is not important, it’s more that there’s much more to think about before getting to those topics.

  15. A-ron

    There’s nothing “wrong” with it, as long as you’re in their target market. However, the biggest flaw is you’re still reading the wall st journal. Lame.

  16. Arkadiy B


    I love reading your posts, and I do understand that sometimes you are in a hurry and make a mistake, but common – “What does the typical reader thinks when they see”, sorry but I had to point this out.

    As for the intentions of WSJ, no one has said it better than Jim Rogers 2 days ago on CNBC “It is PR, they got the stocks up, that’s the whole purpose of PR, make the stocks go higher. That’s what CNBC and many many PR agencies are all about.”

    This should explain why stocks and bonds are first on the list – it is just a sales pitch, and they sound, to put it in your own parlance “sexier” than savings, automation or earning more.

    Best regards

  17. Mario Braganza

    Makes me feel like a deer in the headlights!

    It looks pretty intimidating & makes me want to just have an ‘expert’ handle it all!

  18. SAFTM

    Chris H spotted a biggie to me – no budgeting and daily money management How-To. That’s definitely the most important for me.

    Also, even some of the categories listed are incomplete. Take retirement for example – according to these it looks like 401(k) and annuities are the only options. What about IRAs? KEOGHs? 403(b)s? Now, I admittedly haven’t clicked on any of the (ahem… 3) retirement articles, but given some glaring ones that are missing – I mean, come on, no IRA article… I don’t see much of a point.

    I imagine there may be more issues if you actually click on the articles.

  19. Bopinder Abu Morpalinder Singh

    I see a slave in the making.

    • db4805

      It’s all about giving control of your money to someone else.
      The borrower is slave to the lender.

  20. Zack

    Where are the tips on how to save money on your morning latte?!
    They obviously have no idea idea what they are doing.
    I thought the wsj was better than this.

  21. anon

    There is nothing about WHEN TO SELL… you can buy all you want, but if you don’t know how to use it (i.e. after selling), then you’re holding useless paper.

  22. Rich S

    I would guess the order of the sections. With Google, the higher-ranked items get higher views. So I would infer that Investing is most often viewed while Money Management is rarely seen.

  23. Micayla

    From the context of Ramit asking the question, I’d say it’s that there’s no ‘how to make more money.’

    • Timo

      That’s what I thought too. Nothing about How To Improve/Enhance your Personal Finance.

  24. Rex

    Well it speaks only of managing money as if you already have some….so it is missing: how to earn money and how to save money.


  25. LaptopHeaven

    It makes no mention of how to get out of or control debt!

  26. Jesse

    1. Who wants tips from reporters and columnists?? 2. No automation. 3. No job salary increase tips.

  27. Ryan

    It’s a page from the Wall Street Journal website.

  28. Peter Yaworski

    Information overload is definitely one I agree with but the cultural aspect is evident as well – similar to Ramit’s post on implicit cultural assumptions about home ownership. The article implies that all of these topics ultimately makeup “Personal Finance”. In other words, if you are talking about personal finance, you should be thinking about Insurance, Buying a Car, Buying a Home, etc.

    The implicit argument of “How to Make the Most of Your Debit Card”, “How to Finance an Auto Purchase”, “How to Choose a Financial Planner”, etc. is that you should be doing all of these things.

    This type of article perpetuates the financial illiteracy that IWTYTBR attempts to break down.

    just my two cents,

  29. Jacob

    Asset Allocation – the most important aspect of any portfolio, not mentioned anywhere.

  30. cmadler

    I agree with A-ron: “There’s nothing “wrong” with it, as long as you’re in their target market. However, the biggest flaw is you’re still reading the wall st journal. Lame.”

  31. Jack

    The biggest problem is actually that they certainly only have that page for them to make money (sponsorships, advertising), but they bill it as something to help readers (and there are likely people who go for it).

    But that’s the reason there’s nothing about budgeting or conscientious spending – because who wants to sponsor that?

  32. Sweta

    Is it the “how to buy a stock” link? You always say investing isn’t about picking stocks.

  33. Scelena

    Asset allocation. It gives a big list of securities and other investment vehicles, but doesn’t teeach new investors how to decide WHAT to invest in and leaving them to believe they could just buy stocks or bonds and that is “investing.”

  34. Ranjan

    It gives out a lot of knowledge without bothering about the skills and attitude towards managing your money. Personal finance is “personal” and depends on your own situation and risk profile.

    And for any competency (managing money competency, for example) , you need the skills and attitude in addition to just knowledge.

  35. DanP

    It makes it look like personal finance has to be complex, it truly doesnt.

  36. Chris

    Well for starters, there’s nothing here to take a personal inventory to find out what you have, where it is and what your goals are. It also perpetuates the expensive myth that you need someone other than yourself to “Manage Your Money.” Oy.

    But what’s really missing is SAVING. Not one thing on this list goes to saving or reducing expenses (the college ed stuff is really planned spending). The entire thing is about money going out the door.

  37. Cat

    It preaches buying things to “manage” money–buy stocks, houses, cars, annuities, insurance, financial software. The classic consumer approach: your best solution to every problem is to buy something.

  38. Nick

    Seems to me that the biggest issue is they don’t list Index Funds as an obvious investment choice when that’s the choice that almost everyone should be making.

  39. Tim

    A couple people already nailed it – managing your money should be the first priority and last. It’s very difficult to invest, save, etc. when you don’t have basic money management skills.

    • Tim again...

      and *not* last.

  40. Adam McKay

    I was surprised that managing your money was at the bottom and that debt reduction wasn’t specifically mentioned. I think the reality is that a lot of people don’t know how to manage their money and need to reduce their debt before they can invest or do many of the other great things listed.

  41. Justin

    Forest for the trees… there’s no mention of sitting down and figuring out what your financial goals are. How are you supposed to get somewhere if you don’t know where it is you’re trying to go?

  42. Erica Douglass

    I feel overwhelmed just looking at that page! A ton of acronyms and frankly, gibberish to most people.

    But I feel like the most important part they overlook is that money is really about emotions. There are no emotions on that page. (Emotions would be considered bad form in a newspaper, anyway!)

    I wrote a blog post last year called “Why You Don’t Save for Retirement” that addresses the flip side of this–why, no matter how many “how to” articles you read, you probably still won’t make saving for retirement a priority. It’s because most people don’t make their retirement concrete in their minds–they don’t take the time to visualize and articulate what they want to do when they retire:

    And, without goals and emotions, all of the “how to” in the world is completely useless.


  43. Derek

    I’d say finding a money manager has nothing to do with personal finance.

  44. Bayard

    Holy shit, that’s confusing.

  45. Anthony

    The problem is the lack of “why”. There’s nothing to help you understand and answer the fundamental question: “What do you want your money to accomplish?” The items listed are all means to an end, but there’s nothing to help you figure out what your goals are.

    A better way to start:
    What do you want your money to do for you?
    (or “What do you want to do with your money?)
    We’ll walk you through identifying and setting your goals, then recommend the tools that will get you there.

    The plus side is that their guide would get real simple… really they could just strip out most of what’s there, and link to IWTYTBR!!

  46. Heidi

    It mentions CD’s twice: one being How To Invest in a CD.
    We all know how much you hate them

  47. mike

    Not sure if this has been said already, but these are all tips for ways to SPEND your money “wisely.” Not ways to NOT spend your money foolishly, which as you are so dedicated to pointing out, can be one of the keys to the game.

  48. Aaron

    I wouldn’t put credit, investing and banking so near the top.. seems like they were paid to do that! 🙂

  49. Farrell

    How to get out of debt is not mentioned.

  50. Dow Quote

    Look at the car buying section. Finance or lease…..

  51. Shaun


    There is no explanation of interest, the one factor that, for most, has the single greatest impact of any factor in any of the mentioned purchases or investments. My grandfather taught that: “There are two kinds of people in this world ’em that makes interest and ’em that pays it.” (Ben Kjar, 2007)

    Also, a bit of information on how to start your cash flow in the first place would be sensible.

    -Shaun Kjar

  52. Tom

    Just a ‘how to’ from a columnist is like learning nanotechnology from a teenage bookworm; he can probably regurgitate what he’s read, but he couldn’t solve your problems. It sort of seems like a STFUDF moment.

    Also, they are assuming you should buy a house and a car.

  53. Linda

    All of these options are presented as a buffet–as in, here are all these choices; select what you’d like.

    To borrow a mathematical phrase, there’s no “order of operations.” In other words, what do you do first? Then second? Then third?

    And considering that the majority of Americans are up to their eyeballs in debt, it doesn’t make sense to be discussing how to earn 5-12% (or whatever they’re touting) on your money when you’re paying 18%+ to credit card companies.

  54. Doug

    The list is in reverse order. Playing the market is the last thing you would do after accomplishing all the rest.

  55. Guy

    Obviously, they want to put an emphasis on investing since it’s an investors journal.

  56. Derk

    These are not concepts of personal finance, they are links to services that cost you money.

  57. Dennis

    You don’t “invest” in a CD.

  58. Jessica

    Nothing focuses on making more money!

    (scrolled to the comment window before reading comments so I wouldn’t see possible answers)

    • Steve

      You are right. It is all defensive, not offensive.

  59. David Ponder

    There is no way for anyone to write ‘how to choose a stock’ or ‘how to choose finance software’ without inserting their own personal bias. Each of these will likely be written based on their personal financial positions.

  60. David Ponder

    Also, if I’ve done particularly well at either of those mentioned above and could therefore be considered an ‘expert’ on the subject, there’s almost a 100% chance I would not be writing these articles for many reasons including these 3:
    1. I would be doing something better with my time.
    2. That information would be too valuable to print in the ‘Wall Street Guide…’
    3. Giving that information to the public would render it useless, as in the stock market there must be winners and losers. Not everyone can win, and if everyone is using the same strategy, whatever edge that strategy once had would be lost.

  61. doctor S

    Or is it as basic that it is a “HOW TO” page for both complex and remedial tasks, all lumped together? Saying this is “How to do this” makes it seem so easy when picking a stock, mutual fund, or any other investment engine really is much more complex.

  62. Steve O

    “Evaluating a stock” shouldn’t be a priority for 99% of investors. Also, nothing about disability insurance or life insurance! Both should be a much higher priority than insuring your car or home (of course, you have to do both if you’re legally required to).

  63. yohami

    1) How to make more money

  64. Frank

    Your book’s not on there.

    I find the list unhelpful because it doesn’t really show me how to actually manage my finances as a whole. It’s a bunch of little topics in no particularly helpful order. I would like it more if it showed where to start, what are the big important things I should focus on, etc. Actually what would also be nice is how I can leverage psychology and if it included specific scripts– oh, never mind… now I’m just talking about your book again…

  65. Josh moore

    Another thought just now. It implies that you need money. The mindset is all wrong. The reader will look through the list and think either they already know what these things are or that they don’t have the Money (I.e. They have a bank account but don’t have the money to buy bond or put in a CD)
    It implies the solution to the problem is in doing these things, rather than taking a good hard look at yourself and determining how you got to where you are. It does not address the underlying problems such as spend less than you earn. It almost implies you need debt to do a number of their suggestions (buy a car, a home and invest).
    It assumes managing your money as something that needs to be done by a professional which prevents an individual from taking responsibility for their actions.

  66. Rebecca K.

    I think it’s interesting that the only thing they talk about saving for is for college. Nothing about how to find scholarships for college either.

    They also don’t say how to get out of debt or make credit work for you.

  67. Critical

    Whats wrong with it?
    Focusing on the HOWS and not the WHYS…
    WHYS make it personal finance
    HOWS make it wall street finance – make money commish

  68. Ed Bradford

    To become rich requires behavior, not specific actions.
    Learn from Buffet and Buffet’s mentor, then use these tricks.

  69. Critical

    It simply tells us the business of Wall Street Journal..
    to sell financial services…

  70. Alexb

    Great post. I’m surprised how many of your readers weren’t able to answer the question, but I think Micayla has it right…It should be about making money, not just saving it.

  71. Eshwar J

    Hi Ramit,

    My picks would be like @Chris said, There is no SAVINGS on the list. The list is not ordered by what to do first, for an average reader. Nor catering to majority of WSJ demographics ( . Its rather a list of most viewed pages, that WSJ hasn’t been paying attention on benefiting their readers. An average reader might be confused and quite intimidated with this listings. This is personal finance after all, it must have ways to maximize income or savings by cutting expenses. Then only comes the growing the income which is investing. They focus too much on investing because they are Wall St. afterall!

    Because lets face it, if someone is earning more than $100k a year they might have their personal finance adviser already and doesn’t need these HOW to tips. Added to that everything is just an introductory and nothing is in detail.

    To say in a nutshell, it misses all the good parts, cnn has got on their personal finance page,

    ~ Eshwar Iyer

  72. Jeff Tong

    Everything is wrong on the site. All out of order. First thing noticed, “Managing your Money” is the last topic? How can this be? definitely sub-optimal /epicfail.

    Unfortunately – The typical reader would think that topics are ranked by importance, with the most important on top. Aren’t they in for a financial surprise later.

  73. Frank

    Hi Ramit,

    I guess the overarching problem is that the perspective is broken. It’s the perspective of experts. They’re simply not in their readers/ customers heads… Although they probably assume that every reader of the WSJ knows as much as the journalists (faulty in itseld in the internet age anyway).
    Having worked in a bank for some time I can assure them though that this isn’t true. I had colleagues that weren’t even able to explain what a stock ist.

    One prob this leads to is that they are not answering Why questions on that page, only How and What while someone looking for PF related answers probably needs the Why answered first.


  74. Erica

    If I were looking for information on personal finance and had stumbled upon that page, I would have immediately closed the window. I had to go back and take a second look at the screen shot to even see that they had a few basics on there, but again, if I were just searching for personal finance information, I would have missed the basic how-to articles, or assumed they would be way over my head.

  75. David

    Man. It’s all minutiae and useless tips that don’t address the deeper issues. For instance, “Buying A Car” should be about smart research, how to negotiate, and then how to analyze what kinds of payments you can best take on within your personal financial framework, not how to freaking finance it!

    This is just part of a huger problem which is that people — especially experts — are either too ignorant or too devious to address what the problem ACTUALLY is —- our psychology.

    And that’s why I read this site. And the Heath Brothers. And T.F. These dudes actually talk about the underlying issues, and not some useless, “How to Pick a 52BWIDNWOH28 ETF BLABBITY BLABBITY BLAH I’m so educated I can’t think someone shoot me” b.s.



  76. Bartholemew Longbottom

    It only tells you about investing and borrowing. It doesn’t have anything on budgeting, debt management or growing your income.

  77. Nate

    All it’s talking about is the nitty-gritties, not the big picture. Teaching me about the structure of various financial products does nothing to tell me about how to use them to achieve my financial goals, or even what strategy to take in the achievement of those goals; I could know all the information and still be financially illiterate. It would be like trying to teach someone how to build the house of their dreams by explaining the metallurgical differences between various kinds of bolts. You have to start with goals and design issues, then move onto details as appropriate.

  78. Mark


    After reading your book, all I see on this page are ways for your BROKEr to make money. There isn’t anything telling YOU (the client) how to make money. Just pull up to their advertisers (the brokers) and we’ll show you how to walk or call into our offices and give us your money. Before you figure out how we stole whatever money you have (hidden by dollar-cost averaging) it will be too late for you to do anything about this mess.

    Everyone should read Ramit’s book and you’ll learn how to increase your wealth by saving, investing, and buying, rather than buying, borrowing, and being sold.

    Thanks Ramit!!

  79. Mimi

    There’s nothing in this list about how to make more money yourself – the topic of your Earn 1K on the Side course and other posts – and the main way most people bring in the cash that helps them build wealth (if they then manage to save and invest their money wisely).

  80. irina

    the key ‘wrong’ thing about this is it talks about buying and evaluating *a* stock. portfolio diversification theory and general financial know-how tells us
    1) we shouldn’t be buying just one stock and 2) we don’t need to evaluate a stock in particular, just have to invest in a fund, preferably an index fund due to lower fees and the fact that managed funds rarely outperform the market anyway.

    am i right?

  81. Ché Ché la Femme

    Most important aspects toward building wealth are missing: earn more, spend less, and have NO DEBT!

    I have a $300K/yr freelance gig with approx. 50 different clients, three homes and a used car paid in cash, and no debt. Two of the homes are generating rental income. Took 11 years to crawl out from the abyss of being dead broke, in debt, and unemployed to this point, but it’s possible . . . if one is willing to take calculated risks.

    “Conventional wisdom” (oxymoron) about finances as typified in the WSJ is for the average person . . . who wants to stay average! A wage slave imprisoned for life by mortgage and car payments and credit card debt. With the “heaven” of “retirement” held out like a carrot on a stick to keep slaves motivated.

    That’s the way bankers like it!

  82. Jeffrey

    How to “choose a financial planner” doesn’t belong. All the other links explain how to be your own.

  83. Annie Binns

    I have to concur with some other folks here, Anthony and Erica D.

    HOW TO really isn’t that compelling.

    WHY TO is very compelling. Particularly if it paints a picture that creates an emotional response.

  84. Barb Friedberg

    Too much information. Assumes the viewer knows where to begin. Step by step and simplicity are the keys to gaining financial literacy.
    As a portfolio manager and MBA investing prof. I know it is tough to break down complex topics, but it is crucial to do so.

  85. Vincent

    How about the section on Home buying. I guess it assumes that everyone *should* buy a home and proceeds to explain how, without analyzing whether it is a good decision to buy a home.

  86. Author Of Creando Negocios Web

    Too much information about many topics. But most of them talk about spending your money, not how to earn it, how to be frugal and how to properly save and multiply it.

    Besides they don’t provide a personal system to handle your money and your destiny

  87. IamDavid

    A lot of insightful comments have already been made, so I won’t say what has already been said. So to put it simply, It is supposed to be a how to guide on personal finance, which it is not.

  88. Alex

    The real problem is that the “U.S. Edition” is orange text on a dark gray background. Horrid choice! The Wall Street Journal should know better!!!

  89. Rose M

    I don’t know that I would want to take advice from journalists and writers. Not to mention the list is so long. Information overload to say the least.

  90. Mzee Jibo

    Didn’t say anything about budgeting!


    The article is too enriched with “How and What”. WHY one should do it is not there. In absence of WHY, how it is going to appeal to the early and late majority?? Too soft for even early adopteers!!!!!!!

  92. Tony Hollowell

    It is missing both sides of the same coin:

    How to STOP spending money and how to make MORE money.

  93. sara

    It’s very forest-for-the-trees. The details look complex and there’s no “what’s your goal and what will get you there.”

  94. Jules

    1) This might just be me, but I haven’t got the slightest idea what half of the things under the first heading even are, much less why I’d want to buy one.

    2) I have to agree with most people–there’s no “Why you need to think about a 529” and now reason for why these thigs matter.

    3) Is it just me, or does the section on buying a car (financing/leasing–whatever happened to just buying a car?) seem like a crock?

    • Jules

      Arggh, stupid keyboard:

      2) should read…no reason why these things matter.

  95. Wren

    In addition to the above criticisms of the page’s content, the essential problem is that it isn’t going to reach anyone.

    I think your hint is referencing your experience that few of your fellow undergrads would show up to your personal finance classes because they didn’t think they needed the help or didn’t want to admit that they did.

    Similarly, typical WSJ readers aren’t going to look at a how-to guide because they already think of themselves as above-average investors (even though they’re probably losing money trying to pick stocks or buying shares in the latest hotshot mutual fund). Even if they made it to the page, the first article on “What is a bond” would convince them that there was nothing to learn there. If instead the WSJ paid more attention to its audience and titled the page “Little Known Tips for Skilled Investors” the page views would be through the roof and readers might actually learn something.

  96. Autumn

    Well….I’m waiting. When are you going to reply with your 4 year aha?

  97. Lauryn Ballesteros

    The order.

    It teaches you to invest your money first and manage it last.
    You should manage your money first, then invest. What does making a lot of money mean if you have no idea how to manage it, to thus invest it again?


  98. Bryce

    Defining your goals…

    Earning More Money… (not just managing – yohami said this too)

    (not missing) but a better order…

  99. Dolla Thug

    Hmmm…besides the fact that “Managing Your Money” is the very last item on the page, the worst part is that the first link under Managing Your Money is finding SOMEONE ELSE to manage YOUR money. We all know the best way to understand personal finance is to make it PERSONAL and learn how to motivate yourself before you give the reigns to someone else.

  100. Craig

    Nothing on cash flow and seeing where your money is coming from and where it is going.

    You can find out how to invest in stocks, bonds, etc… but nothing telling you how to invest in yourself and build your own brand to make more income (so you can invest in stocks, bonds, etc…).

  101. NickAZ

    No information on earning money.

  102. sarah

    order is all wrong

  103. ML


    I am clueless! Are you going to give us the answer at some point?

  104. Lissie

    If it’s one thing you spotted I’d say that the issue is that under retirement the only savings option listed is the 401(k). This is great if you have access to one. However it is not the only tax break incentive option; let alone the only thing that you ought to do.

    On the other hand if what you’re spotting is the overall effect of the page then the set-up is wrong, as most readers will go top to bottom. With this set-up a “want to know the basics” reader will be overwhelmed before finishing with the Investing section; may never reach the Managing Your Money section (which seems a bit light).

  105. stephen

    Buying a home is an investment, LDO.

  106. Nick H

    All the “how”s … none of the “why”s or “when”s

  107. Jesus

    Personal Finance is just that personal. Its the strategy deployed by that one person to achieve the goals and dreams of that particular person. Personal financial isn’t a list of financial products like insurance or ETFs nor is it a list of things to buy (car, house) it’s still a personal plan to achieve the financial level of each individual person.

  108. David

    I’m sure I’m repeating what others have already said, but it’s highlighting investing as the most important aspect of personal finance, when anyone who has read your book knows that — while important — investing comes after other things!

    There’s also an assumption of excess money here.

  109. Michael


    This one is too easy. There isn’t a single link about automating your finances.


  110. Greg McFarlane

    The Emperor has no clothes.

    Everything on that list looks fine. Perhaps Ramit threw the question out there just to amuse himself by watching people fall over themselves to answer it. (I notice he hasn’t responded.)

    It’s a list of 9 headings and 28 subheadings, all of which seem pretty rudimentary. The space alloted on the WSJ prohibits more detail for each heading, or at least would make such detail unwieldy. If I’m a financial neophyte, then yes, of course I’d like to know what a 401(k) is and how to select a checking account, etc. What’s wrong with that? Sorry if insuring my home and learning how to shop for health insurance seem like worthwhile pursuits. I assume everyone on here who’s criticizing the list clicked on every link and found the information wanting?
    It’s OK to step back and think for yourself, you know.

  111. Creative Image

    It’s geared towards people in their late 20s and early 30s. This is when we get out of college and starting to make real money and clueless to what to do with their finances. They get married and have kids and still clueless on how to buy a home or to invest the right way for retirement.

    The article only reveals money that you have and not on how to make money to do those type of things.

  112. Jen

    The writer didn’t get inside their readers’ heads. Simple.

  113. Why personal-finance “experts” continue writing worthless advice | I Will Teach You To Be Rich

    […] 100+ responses were terrific: It seems overly complex and could cause analysis paralysis. Reader thinks ‘it’s […]

  114. Tim Rosanelli

    What is wrong with the website is the same reason teenager’s won’t listen to their parent’s good advice but are influenced greatly by their favorite musician or band ~ good or bad..

    • Ramit Sethi

      I’ve posted my thoughts on what’s wrong with the WSJ screenshot here.

    • Tim Rosanelli

      I just read it. Great post!!!